Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Three Jewish Characters

(Bublanski and Blomkvist.)

Many characters in modern fiction are non-religious. For example, on this blog, we refer to:

Poul Anderson's Manse Everard, David Falkayn and Dominic Flandry;

Ian Fleming's James Bond;

Stieg Larsson's Mikael Blomkvist.

However, Anderson also gives us:

the Catholic Nicholas van Rijn and Fr Axor;
the Buddhist Trygve Yamamura and Adzel.

After SM Stirling's Change, many religious traditions flourish and the merchant, Moishe Feldman, is Jewish.

Non-religious central characters often interact with religious believers, e.g.:

Falkayn with van Rijn and Adzel;
Flandry with the Jewish Max Abrams, the Orthochristian Kossara Vymezal and Axor;
Blomkvist with the Jewish Jan Bublanski.

Thus, three wise men. (They are.)

Bublanski attends synagogue for fellowship and congregational worship but sits quietly in the back of a Catholic church - where he knows that he will not be disturbed - when he needs to think/talk to God about his job or his life. Thus, this Swedish Police Inspector is wise enough to enter two places of worship for different reasons. While thinking/talking to God, he might see me meditating.

11 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And Anderson's skeptics are also friendly to religious believers and treat them with respect. And there were moments when some of them at least wished they believed in God. Flanry came close to that when he said farewell to Kossara at her lying in state (A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS).

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I thought it interesting that a Jew would go to a Catholic church to think and talk with God. It reminded me of Giovanni Guareschi's Don Camillo stories, in which the parish priest literally does talk to God.

Sean

Ketlan said...

Ah, the beautiful old Don Camillo stories. Nostalgia is strong around here. One of my uncles gave me a full set when I was a young child and I loved them then - even more now, though one or two have gone adrift over the years.

Paul Shackley said...

A Poul Anderson Appreciation blog is a good place to mention other memorable authors.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Ketlan and Paul!

Ketlan, I'm glad you are better! And I agree with what you said about Don Camillo stories. I think I read all of them that had been translated into English while a boy. And I still have four of the Don Camillo books: THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO, DON CAMILLO'S DILEMMA, COMRADE DON CAMILLO, and DON CAMILLO AND THE FLOWER CHILDREN. These were all wise, funny, ruefully humorous stories with a touch of both sadness and hope.

Paul: I agree! And I wonder if Poul Anderson ever came across some of the stories of Giovanni Guareschi? I think he would have enjoyed them!

Sean

David Birr said...

All:
Another *Don Camillo* fan from my youth; the library in my high school had at least some of the books. I believe *Comrade Don Camillo* was the first to catch my eye.

Ketlan said...

Damn, I got all excited then believing there was a Don Camillo book I'd somehow missed, DON CAMILLO AND THE FLOWER CHILDREN. I had already read it though, under the alternate name of Don Camillo Meets Hell's Angels. I'm not sure why there are two such different titles for the same book. Good job I checked before ordering.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

It makes me laugh again as I remember how Don Camillo blackmailed Peppone into arranging for him to be included in that visit of Italian Communists to the USSR! The at least half affectionate relationship Dom Camillo and Peppone had for each other is a major part of the stories.

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Ketlan!

I think the reason why the same books can have different titles is easy enough to understand. For whatever reasons, translators and publishers in different countries might choose different names for the same books.

Sean

David Birr said...

Ketlan:
As Sean says. Also, with regard to that book, I found the following comment about translation preferences on "The Little Blog of Don Camillo"
(https://doncamilloblog.wordpress.com):
"An early character-establishing point in the story has Don Camillo fretting because his niece eschews her baptismal name ('Elizabetta') in favor of the hippy nickname 'Flora.' That monker sounds sufficiently latinate that I thought Guareschi must have chosen it for the Italian edition ... but no. In the Italian original, the rebellious girl calls herself 'Cat,' short for 'Caterpillar' — as in the tractor! (Because she plows through everything that gets in her way?) Interestingly, the 1972 Italian movie version of this book also calls her 'Cat,' but treats it as a diminutive of 'Caterina' (effectively retconning the character’s Christian name) and forgets the tractors."

Alas, there are no entries in that blog since May 2012 ... and it seems to have begun only in April of that year.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Many thanks! And I had not known the "Flora" used in my English translation of DON CAMILLO AND THE FLOWER CHILDREN was incorrect, that the author had Don Camillo's difficult niece preferring to be called "Cat." I wish the translator had kept that. Pity the blog about Don Camillo has gone dormant.

Let me correct a persistent error I make: it's DON CAMILLO TAKES THE DEVIL BY THE TAIL which I have, not DON CAMILLO'S DILEMMA.

Sean